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A TopStepTrader's Real Money Combine


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A TopStepTrader's Real Money Combine

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  #1 (permalink)
 iqgod 
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My life has become filled with passion and purpose since I have been trading with a positive attitude, fueled by the desire to excel at the process.



The simple goal I have set for myself is to excel in the process of trading. I derive my sense of pleasure from the process, however trading has ceased to be exciting. Trading has become a job full of controlled boredom infused with forced and concentrated learning, interspersed with sudden flashes of insight as mindfulness towards self and markets reveals a setup as the market waves its sleight of hand right in front of my face.

My state of mindfulness at that moment dictates if I able to assume risk in a timely manner at that moment as the setup folds itself out, wrapped by uncertainty and my action or inaction immediately tells me if I am still thinking in probabilities.

This is a game of skill. This is a high performance activity where my action of every moment determines my success - this game has a geometric outcome.



However, a tiny dot that I am in this world, though proud to execute correctly and with full concentration to prevent mistakes, I realize that I do not know what will happen next once complete the action of putting on that trade, simply because I am too small in front of this vast market.

However the game I play is simply executing my small edge over and over and that is all I put my faith in without being blind simply because I have tested my edge.

It is in this state that I begin my next combine and continue my learning, hoping for nothing in return. In my humility I have my full and complete repose. In my calm I am my own edge. Knowing my weaknesses is good but I remember that action (the decision of 'not taking action right now' is counted in the scope action) triumphs everything in the markets.




My next combine puts a capital of $30,000 in front of me and on 01 July 2013 I will begin to observe the market and execute my edge everyday from 5 AM Central (3:30 PM India) for a minimum of 10 days during which period you can expect me to post regularly in this journal.


The single twist is that I will also be trading the EURUSD on my live funded $300 account trading executing a similar microlot trade corresponding to the 6E trade I execute in the combine.



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  #3 (permalink)
 iqgod 
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Prerequisite: You need to be familiar with Bob Volman's Forex Price Action Scalping to understand this discussion.

Base chart to start scalping off:


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 iqgod 
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I suddenly realized that if I am to present a meaningful journal I would need to explain my premises first instead of jumping into trade after trade after trade.

It would also be a good opportunity to present what I understand about scalping in my own words.

So here we go.....


A market is characterized by movement of which the remarkable part is that sometimes the movement tends to continue in one direction, resisting any attempts to halt, and tending to continue. Of course we all know that is called as a trend.

The non-trending phase also known as a trading range is where action is listless but usually tradable nevertheless.

A scalpers job is to focus on the NOW and determine which of the forces among bullish and bearish are currently exerting a greater influence and simply join the winning party.

The question: How?

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 iqgod 
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The answer to this question is not one a newbie is going to like.

THERE IS NO WAY OF KNOWING WHAT PRICE WILL REALLY DO NEXT.

In the other words, my pet setup may come at a precise location, with many factors going for it - however it is no guarantee that it will play out to make this trade a winner.

Which brings us to the concept of an EDGE.

What is and edge? It is simply the probability of one thing happening more over another.

Thus, claiming to have an edge in the market is a pretty bold statement. The Efficient market Hypothesis lends voices to skeptics that there cannot be a lasting edge allowing a trader to consistently make money. Traders have proven otherwise.

So where does a trader's edge come from? It comes from exploiting the predicament of fellow traders. The trader's job is to stay ahead of the rate of change and figure out inflection points or in other terms what will cause traders to do something (buy or sell) that will push prices in the direction which will benefit his or her position.

However the catch is that the trader needs to be positioned in time before other traders and that is the meaning of staying ahead of the rate of change.

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 TrendTraderBH 
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Mark Fisher's book "The Logical Trader" presents it's context edge in pretty convincing fashion although one still needs an execution edge based on that context. His premise is that the opening range is statistically significant and can be used to build an edge upon. There are futures.io (formerly BMT) threads that follow his path (most notably MF Breakouts). Just my 2 cents.



iqgod View Post
The answer to this question is not one a newbie is going to like.

THERE IS NO WAY OF KNOWING WHAT PRICE WILL REALLY DO NEXT.

In the other words, my pet setup may come at a precise location, with many factors going for it - however it is no guarantee that it will play out to make this trade a winner.

Which brings us to the concept of an EDGE.

What is and edge? It is simply the probability of one thing happening more over another.

Thus, claiming to have an edge in the market is a pretty bold statement. The Efficient market Hypothesis lends voices to skeptics that there cannot be a lasting edge allowing a trader to consistently make money. Traders have proven otherwise.

So where does a trader's edge come from? It comes from exploiting the predicament of fellow traders. The trader's job is to stay ahead of the rate of change and figure out inflection points or in other terms what will cause traders to do something (buy or sell) that will push prices in the direction which will benefit his or her position.

However the catch is that the trader needs to be positioned in time before other traders and that is the meaning of staying ahead of the rate of change.


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BeansTwoNiner
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Didn't you get funded recently?

Sorry, trying to do 5 posts so can use futures.io (formerly BMT) as my journal provider.

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 iqgod 
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Setup type: Second Break

This is a with-trend setup which is entered - the second break indicates the end of the pullback and a resumption of the trend.

Look at the chart below (a trade I took less than one hour ago):




What is the prerequisite to this setup?

The first is of course that there must be a trend to begin with, i.e. the chart must be moving in a largely diagonal fashion and not ranging.

Trends continue farther than any one trader can 'feel'.

The setup works as follows:

In a pullback there will be people on the sidelines who now feel the price offers value and will start entering with trend again.

This activity causes one of the pullback bars to be taken out in the direction of the original trend - this is the FIRST BREAK.

However the criteria for trading a first break is that the pullback must be clean and diagonal.

If it is not then we skip the first break.

The second break occurs when the sideliners exhibit aggression AGAIN and take out a bar extreme ONCE MORE. This is the second break.

We enter on the break of the signal bar expecting trend continuation - in my case expecting a 10 tick with trend move.

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 iqgod 
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In the earlier chart I did not discuss the tipping point.

The original stop is entered as a 10-tick stop with the target being 10-ticks.

However it is not our intention to allow the trade to go against us full 10-ticks.

The tipping point is a place where the trade premise loses its validity and the technical reason to get into the trade has diminished to a coin-flip.

I could have place this tipping point beneath the 1.3131 lows where a triple bottom is clearly visible at times 13:06 13:08 and 13:10.

However I chose to place the stop below the last higher low of 1.3130 - however both locations for the stop would have been technically acceptable.

Note that the target is always 10 ticks and is NEVER tampered with - only the 10-tick stop is moved to a proper technical location (never out of fear).

If this stop is hit then the trade is scratched then and there, no questions asked.

I will cover the five aspects of how to manage a trade as per its five behaviors in some later post.

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 iqgod 
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Based on our entry here are the possibilities that can happen:

1. The trade moves into losing territory IMMEDIATELY.

2. The trade goes nowhere and price stalls without doing anything much of significance.

3. The trade goes into profit and there do not appear any pullbacks or obstructions!

4. The trade went into a nice profit but now the profit is reducing i.e. a pullback is happening.

5. The trade went into profit, but is now seriously going bad.

I plan to cover each of these situations and the attempts to deal with each

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 iqgod 
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Dojis represent indecision.

However not all Double Doji breaks can be tradable.

Here is a risky Double Doji break that setup up JUST NOW which should not be traded to the downside:




Can you guess why?

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 iqgod 
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A double doji break setup is a with-trend setup again.

When there is a good trend ongoing and then a pullback brings prices back into the 20 EMA zone then the following qualify a Double Doji setup:

- There must be two or more doji bars

- The size of these bars must be smaller than the surrounding bars of the pullback.

- There must be no visible or obvious chart resistance obstructing the path of the DD break target.

As I write these lines look what happened to our dear little Double Doji Break:

Price never reached its target. Why? Some reasons could be:

- The DD break was obstructed by clustering action of the block to the left (marked with a box)

- This was never a valid DD break to begin with even though the false break had shattered the bulls hopes - look at the huge size of the dojis compared to the pullback they originate from.

I will post the a chart to demonstrate once the price action plays itself out.

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 iqgod 
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To continue our learning here I have marked out all the reasons why what happened was 'expected' - that is a taboo word, but the probability of that happening over prices moving down were tipped by overly eager traders themselves.




Trading is always reading the points where the most traders are likely to get hurt and bail out to help your trade.

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 iqgod 
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The 10-tick target is now achieved!




I have also marked two places where I could have entered long if I hadn't been aboard.

Those are range break and inside range break setups I will be discussing shortly.

Its amazing how head and shoulders and these setups coincide often.

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 iqgod 
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Should a trader be on the agressive side - i.e. should be be quick and jump onto a moving train and trade valid first breaks for example OR should he consistently excercise prudence and skip the first trade and take the more validated second break?

It depends on the trader of course.

If a trader is:
nimble
agile
quick with execution

then he can catch a winner on a aggressive trade with consistency.

However it should be remembered that the fastest ones are not always the once who get the trophy. They can easily get sucked into being in position of the extremes of false breaks and there the ones with prudence have an edge.

The answer really is that a trader must do what matches his ir her personality and DO IT WITH CONSISTENCY.

He cannot be jumping on aggressively on one trade and trading another similar setup with prudence next just because he was burned on the last aggressive trade!

CONSISTENCY is the key!

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 iqgod 
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Here is a real-time example I am trading now to the long side:


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 iqgod 
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The problem with trading the EURUSD with a forex broker with a small account is the 2.5 pips spread!

The most that a 10-tick target can net a GOOD trader is 5 ticks. Sucks!

However since this is simply to demonstrate my strategy for the combine it should currently do.


While my ARB target is 1.3134 I believe that it will be a tiny part of this huge (for a scalper) H & S that will have a target equal to its height!


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 iqgod 
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Now is a good time to wait and excecize patience

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 iqgod 
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It may also test the last arch and try to go down till the low of the right shoulder.

Let's observer together.....

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 iqgod 
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I hope it is clear by now that I will be focusing on Bob Volman's methodology in this combine.

Here is the RB trade I was anticipating - not taken it yet! Early birds do not always catch the worm!


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 iqgod 
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I hope readers understand that this drill serves a purpose..... practice, practice, practice - practice so hard that recognizing the market imbalances in realtime becomes second nature and trading becomes automatic - much like driving on the Indian roads

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 iqgod 
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The most important thing about this chart is that it is ranging and not trending.

That alone should make me get my box tool out and start looking for Inside Range Breaks!


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 iqgod 
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At the last moment I noticed that the market was in a huge trading range I if I would have taken that RB setup I would have bought at the high of the range.

Hence I declined the offer of buying the Range Break as price moved above it to the long side.


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 iqgod 
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Even though the trend was bullish the signs of resistance are now overwhelming.

However should I blindly trade the break of a Triple M top or Inverted H & S to the downside?

No, because that is the mark of FOMO (fear of missing out).

Here I am waiting for a block break of sorts to give me a clear short into this reversal.

If I can do this in real time on a tiny account then I can do this in realtime in a TST combine.

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 iqgod 
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As I finished typing the previous post i suddenly was rewarded with why waiting for a proper setup and buildup is so important.




If I had blindly taken that short just because a triple topping pattern formed.... that would have been asking for a good whack.

If I would have had entered at 1.3128 my 10-tick stop would have been run over just now!

I am reminded by the importance of NOT frontrunning a setup.

>>>>> Stop reading this post at this point.... <<<<<

Here I compliment myself privately.

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 iqgod 
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Are there any learnings for me?

- Betting on reversals is a losing proposition. Trends continue so far because too many people bet on reversals!

- Could I have taken the other side - it would have been so profitable......

The last statement was always dangerous thinking for me.

It presumes a delusion I had long held before I became a profitable trader... the delusion that I CAN PREDICT WHAT THE MARKET IS GOING TO DO NEXT.

Let me say it again.... I do not know what the market is going to do next. Even though I risk real money on a great setup I do not know the outcome of my next trade.

This is more of a reminder to myself yet again.

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 iqgod 
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In this journal you will find me complimenting myself quite a bit frequently.

Always remember that I will only compliment myself because I followed my trading plan well and executed well by following good trading discipline.

I will never compliment myself based on the outcome of any trade. (e.g. hurrah my last trade was a winner etc must not be found in these pages... send me a remote butt kick if I ever do that).

The fact that prices move just enough to oblige a trader to profit from a lapse of trading dscipline is part and parcel of the market's way of setting him/her up for a gigantic failure.

Habits matter more than profits.

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 iqgod 
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Did price break the range or did it not?

This question leads to the Advanced Range Break Setup short I just took:


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 iqgod 
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After getting into the ARB short I immediately found myself taking heat on the trade i.e. the trade started as a quick loser by travelling across to the top of the three pip range.

However the target was achieved without any further redness:


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 iqgod 
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The scalps that I am firing mean that the average holding time of winners is less than three minutes.

This clearly means that I have to cut short all losers in a time bound manner.

What that cutoff is I still have no idea.

Because some winners take their sweet time to hit the targets and they eventually do so.

This is a note regarding combine statistics.

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 iqgod 
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For taking this block break I had to actually block out (no pun intended) prices to the left and see price travel to its ten tick target!


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 iqgod 
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However I had to fight a parallel outcome which was boiling over in my mind - the double bottom that had formed!

Lesson: conquer panic! Follow rules!

Actual:





Parallel outcome I visualized and ALMOST scratched the trade (imaginary outcome):




It was a thin line between a victory parade and a march to the firing squad.
Private area:
Complementing myself again

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 iqgod 
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Each time I keep revisiting this premise:

That I must respect my rules.

I must trust in them.

i must honor them.

I must act courageously.

I must have presence of mind.

I must execute in a manner that shows that I am detached from the outcome and am focusing ONLY on improving and following my method.


The above rules are mostly common sense.

To a newbie it almost seems the question on the lips is:

Why can't @iqgod just do what he has to do instead of getting into so much anguish and turmoil?


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 iqgod 
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This is the shortcoming number two I am overcoming right now:

The shortcoming is that after some winning trades I hesitate to take another trade.

The underlying demon is DOUBT - "what if I lose on this one" syndrome.

I am fighting doubtfulness and continuing to trade.

Here is a block break I missed because of "doubt":


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 iqgod 
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Just to be clear the demons we are fighting are listed below:

No. 1: Frontrunning - i.e. taking a trade because "so many things support it" instead of the disciplined wait for the setup - partially conquered!

No. 2: Doubt - hesitation to enter even when a valid setup has signalled entry.

No. 3: Wanting to be right on every trade - conquered!

This manifested itself in two ways:
- Clinging to losers even beyond point of validity (with hope as basis instead of technicals; also by putting a hard timestop the period of which is to be determined)
- Holding to winners beyond expected targets to catch "home-runs" or hail-Mary rides that would otherwise be missed


No. 4: Insufficient education and practice: working on it

No. 5: Putting myself at a disadvantage by overworking and getting the nervous system all strung up: Fixed by imposing strict time limits to trading and allowing myself to be consciously mentally healthy, stressfree and relaxed before and after trading.

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 xelaar 
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The problem with trading the EURUSD with a forex broker with a small account is the 2.5 pips spread!

The most that a 10-tick target can net a GOOD trader is 5 ticks. Sucks!

However since this is simply to demonstrate my strategy for the combine it should currently do.


While my ARB target is 1.3134 I believe that it will be a tiny part of this huge (for a scalper) H & S that will have a target equal to its height!


Check out LMAX, they have spread on Euro around 0.2-0.4 pips and commission is around 0.6, so you have same 1 tick spread as on futures. They are very good broker and mini-exchange, similar model to MBTrading I believe.

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 iqgod 
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The reason for skipping the valid Double Doji break was that the pullbacks have started becoming stronger.

The last pullback retraced ALL of the downmove showing increasing bullish enthusiasm.



Double bottoms have started appearing and the chances of the trade reaching target before hitting stop are diminished!

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 iqgod 
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It is never about outcomes - the only important thing is to focus on the left of the chart and then decide whether the trade is to be taken or skipped... and leaving the rest to the probability principle



If I would have taken the trade it would have got into a green area of 9 ticks in profit from where my fortunes would have reversed for the worst.

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 iqgod 
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What really is discipline?

Not taking the bad trades which are bound to run into obvious chart resistance. Like the last one which I skipped... discipline.

However what if I took it?

If I am stubborn and stick to my 10-tick target in a bad trade then see it reach 9 ticks and then watch it lose all of the profits... is that discipline (after committing the first indiscipline) or is it stubbornness and a need to be right?

I believe that the FIRST breach of discipline is where I should go about curtailing and dousing that fire is the key instead of watching how much of the room burns down and how I managed to save all my valuables... makes sense?

Feel free to discuss this!

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 iqgod 
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The TopStepTrader Combines are a time-bound examination, with their multi-faceted parameters which form a triad by tying up these metrics to a trader's evaluation of performance, FORCE a mediocre trader to become good and a good trader to become great.

That is the single reason I am enrolled in the combine.

To make myself a better trader.

I would never have heard about this had not early adopters popularized it on Big Mike's forum, so they deserve credit. In the combines I am continuing my trading journey at a MUCH accelerated pace.

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 iqgod 
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The trend has been bearish for quite some time now.

However a bull trend has broken out to the upside from the long consolidation.

A first break is a trade that is taken when one of a set of counter trend bars is taken out by a bar in the direction of the original trend.


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 jmsUK 
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My life has become filled with passion and purpose since I have been trading with a positive attitude, fueled by the desire to excel at the process.

My next combine puts a capital of $30,000 in front of me and on 01 July 2013 I will begin to observe the market and execute my edge everyday from 5 AM Central (3:30 PM India) for a minimum of 10 days during which period you can expect me to post regularly in this journal.


Thank you for posting. I have read all of this thread as well as many of your previous posts.
My observation is that your humility has increased substantially and I know you did IDT with Ray, as I did recently.
He really emphasizes that and it certainly helps to keep the ego at bay.
Best of luck to you with the Combine. I am in final preparation phase before I apply for one too. Aiming to start August 1st, while taking a summer break in July. I haven't noticed that markets don't move in August although there may not be the volume, but I have seen good movement throughout the summer holiday season.
Anyway, I digress.
Best wishes and keep us posted
JS

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 iqgod 
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The trade generated a LOT of heat and was in the red for the initial period before moving into green territory.

Here I show how I technically adjust my stop to a more economical level


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 iqgod 
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jmsUK View Post
Thank you for posting. I have read all of this thread as well as many of your previous posts.
My observation is that your humility has increased substantially and I know you did IDT with Ray, as I did recently.
He really emphasizes that and it certainly helps to keep the ego at bay.
Best of luck to you with the Combine. I am in final preparation phase before I apply for one too. Aiming to start August 1st, while taking a summer break in July. I haven't noticed that markets don't move in August although there may not be the volume, but I have seen good movement throughout the summer holiday season.
Anyway, I digress.
Best wishes and keep us posted
JS

Thanks @jmsUK!

All the best for your combine too!

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 iqgod 
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This trade is really testing my patience.

Dr. Brett Steenbarger says that fear often masquerades as postive thinking. So in a sense NOT CUTTING the trade immediately has to be one of my combine rules otherwise my chances of passing get impacted.

I need to always remember that this exam is not about being right, but optimizing my performance to adhere to the examination guidelines!

Look at the places I have marked where I could 'still' have exited - these are hindsight exits though so its easy to do such marking:




This quick cutting of losses needs more practice and more discipline!

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 iqgod 
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AND there is this school of thought which Bob Volman advocates that once I place a trade I either let it take out a target or take out a tipping point adjusted stop.

Meanwhile price keeps backing and filling.

If the trade becomes a loser NOW then I would have been in the trade for more than 40 bars which makes the statistics skewed towards the losing side.

Thus the importance of skillfully cutting ALL losers early no matter how good the price action looks!

i know this may take around 30% potential winners along with it but there isn't an option if I am to pass!

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 iqgod 
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I guess I will simply have to follow Bob Volman to the book to achieve any level of consistency at all!

A Range Break seems to be setting up however and the trade may reach its target after all:



Here again I am thinking of adjusting my trading in relation to OUTCOMES - not a good practice that a professional would follow.

It think the adjustment must be in terms of getting better at playing the game by keeping the practice on.

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 iqgod 
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Whenever I get TRAPPED into a losing trade following things happen:

1. I start worrying about statistics. (HInt: By then its too late. I suddenyl realized I hadn't thought out this aspect of passing well.)

2. I see OTHER valid trades which I SHOULD have really taken but am trapped to fulfill a statistic.


Thus, I need to plan the holding time and the strategy for trade management better in this combine.

Even if I decide to use Bob Volman's strategy I need to STICK TO MY GUNS and NOT CHICKEN OUT.

Meanwhile compression is building up in the range break about to happen though it is still premature to expect a breakout and more compression or pressure needs to build!


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 iqgod 
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... is exiting the trade at breakeven after it has weathered a lot of heat in the red area.

Thus the moment it goes a few ticks into green I AM TEMPTED TO COVER!!!

I used to think that this would be a beneficial thing for a combine but look what it resulted in - irrecoverable combine stats!! I got 91% winning trades and many of these winners were one-two tick winners!

HOWEVER I also noticed that if I stretched my target from one-two ticks to four to five ticks then that dramatically reduced the number of green trades that went into red AND NEVER CAME BACK.

Look at this point where I intuitively felt that MANY losers would have been WAITING for this moment to come and then WHOOSH all of a sudden there would be sellers in the market to cover at a tiny profit and then down would go the market.

That is exactly what happened but I, a prisoner of conflict between 'discipline' and 'whether I shoudl finally scratch the trade for a 50% profit instead of NOW waiting for the full target of 10-ticks was left holding the baby.


These moments of opportunity appear regularly but only if:

If I have not cut a loser quickly

Look at the chart to understand: I have been waiiiiiiiiting and waiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiting and then the expected miracle happens and then I still don;t bail out - if I had bailed out then and there at the spike I could have:
1. Made a profit
2. Kept my trade in the winner catergory
3. Would have had a huge hold time on a winner.

YET I HELD ON!

This confused state appears when I am not nimble enough to capitalize on an opportunity - opportunity presented on a silver platter.

Stubbornness?

Need to be FULLY right?








I do not have all the answers yet.

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 iqgod 
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To get to the root of the issues I presented in my earlier post, it is not enough to simply be chart-technically competent.

Trading requires a different kind of competency than most professions (not counting sports) and the need to know one's true self transcends all the chart reading ability (it complements it).

Quoting Brett Steenbarger (thanks to @tigertrader)


I've never seen a trader succeed whose explicit or implicit goal was to not lose. The trader who trades to not lose is like the person who lives to avoid death: both become spiritual hypochondriacs.

The absence of self-acceptance too often masquerades as the desire for self-improvement.


Meanwhile the painful fact is that I did not take ACTION. Price presented itself at a high price again and would have allowed me to had I moved my target. BUT NO. I have tested that my target will be reached and I will NOT lower my target.

ACTION TRIUMPHS EVERYTHING. Being purposeful and committed to becoming a great trader is NOT enough! Action separates the doers and the risk takers from the crowd.

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 iqgod 
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All I can do is try to trade well.

I did not touch my target.

It was at 10-ticks though I was tempted to take the quick fix route to tidy up my combine statistics.

My mind was on fire and my pulse was racing.

I sat on my hands.
I sat on my hands.
I sat on my hands.
I sat on my hands.

I whistled. Anything to let the stress pass over me. At the last few moments it was pure torture.

What if the trade reaches 9 ticks and then price collapses?

Wouldn't that be BAD trade management? (Risking 9 ticks of achieved profit to make 1 tick unrealized profit?)

But NO. I held on because I had a belief. I sensed that there will be thousands of trapped traders like me. Who will push the price to my target......


Let's see...

Here is the current chart: will it? won't it?


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 iqgod 
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It isn't so much that I had a winning trade that mattered to me.

I have crossed over something unsourmountable.

It was painful. It was hard.

Yet I persisted. From one tick winners I graduated to six ticks - today I took all ten.

I wanted to move my stop to 8 ticks once so much in the green.

But I DIDN'T. The action (inaction) mattered.

I did it. I got my ticks.






i am stopping for the day - it has been a stressful ride.

I know I am in the flow. I want to take more ticks out.

Stopping at a point where my energy is blooming, my systems are alert seems like a stupid thing to do.

I am not in euphoria. Simply that I have confidence that I can do this business alone. Almost bored by it but happy to not be over excited or atleast not AS excited as I used to get like a bundle of nerves.

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 iqgod 
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Al Brooks says 'You are a trader and not a pattern clerk. Trade what you see not try fitting it into a label'.

I started off trying to trade a first break.

I should have scratched it right away (first break tipping points are very tiney - one or two tick stops suffice if the trade is any good).

However I stayed on (bad discipline, didn;t cut my losers quick).

Then I saw the range break forming.

MIND YOU it had not even broken out above the high. Simply forming.

At that point the trade could really have gone either way.

I kept holding out of 'I know this is gonna win' attitude and that might have backfired.

All in all this was back to dangerous territory.

I need to be more careful.

I need to stop treating bad habits as if they were money-generating clients.

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 iqgod 
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I am looking for a way on CTS T4 platform to hide the profit and loss number on the contract window (DOM).

It is a distraction and trading well requires minimizing distractions.

Currently I don't think its possible - will ask Brian in the T4 AMA thread.

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 xelaar 
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I am looking for a way on CTS T4 platform to hide the profit and loss number on the contract window (DOM).

It is a distraction and trading well requires minimizing distractions.

Currently I don't think its possible - will ask Brian in the T4 AMA thread.

Just make font size smaller and then make a dom narrower - everything will be there except PnL. Still you need to check it before every trade from the accounts window - otherwise you can hit DLL. Just treat whole PnL concept as points, no need to replace it with ticks, since as position size may wary tick count becomes obsolete.

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 iqgod 
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Just make font size smaller and then make a dom narrower - everything will be there except PnL. Still you need to check it before every trade from the accounts window - otherwise you can hit DLL. Just treat whole PnL concept as points, no need to replace it with ticks, since as position size may wary tick count becomes obsolete.

Thanks @xelaar!

Yes treating PnL as points sounds a great concept - one that I am trying to inculcate by habit.

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 iqgod 
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Apart from the fact that the trend is supportive of the long trade here are a couple of reasons why I took it:

1. No unfavorable conditions

2. No Clustering price action



However the stop location is the worst part about this trade.

It is called an awkward stop.


An awkward stop is a stop which is technically bad - where can we imagine buyers to come into the market? Most probably (with a imaginative bent of mind, we don't really turn soothsayers) they will come in at the clustering price action where my current stop is!

However now that I've taken the trade I've no option but to wait out till the trade plays itself out.

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 iqgod 
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Moving my stop under a pin extreme sounds like a good idea when untested. However I will need to do all the hard work to actually find out

However I suspect the market fakes out a lot of early entrants and then fakes out all the reversal aficionados.

And both contribute to the trend, first party because they have bailed out scared, second one because they tried to fight the trend and can only exit by firing a with-trend order!





Pinbars can be a good tipping point technique.

However when pinbars form a trendline has been rarely broken hence the probability of trend continuation is high.

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 iqgod 
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Not always can pinbars be treated as warning signs.

It makes sense to use them as tipping points ONLY if a major trendline has been broken by a countertrend move.

Remembering: Trends continue much farther than anyone can ever imagine!



Edit: Though I wanted to point out the hindsight observation that: "Look! The stop would have been correct, look how the trend reversed!" However I need to remind myself that trading is about probabilities and not outcomes.

The WISEST thing would have been to skip the block break since a reversal was probable!

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 iqgod 
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When I sense a pattern failure and when in the real world I would have scratched the trade in the real world with no questions asked I actually HESISTATE to cut a losing trade short in a combine because I worry about... you guessed it .... STATISTSICS!

In the previous short trade I had traded the block break to the short side and then the double bottom formed.

I was tempted to CUT my postion immediately but didn't.

Then, though I was allowing the postion to continue I still had a tight lease there on it because of the breakout test that occurred soon after and then the bull flag, i.e. a three push bull flag.

Reading the markets has never been a problem lately... just ACTING on the read.

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 iqgod 
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I took the full 10-tick stop in my face.




The conclusion of the last trade fiasco was obvious even as I took the trade and started typing:

1. Avoid entries which are not techically sound (and I don't mean entries that LOOK dicey, looks have nothing to do with trading - refer )

My edge is always in the WAITING. Impatience and acting before my turn is not an edge.

Also having had to place that awkward stop was the real killer! That should have prevented my from taking that coin-flip trade!

Warning Sign: Once the awkward stop gets taken out I am too shaken to take second break the long!

Neither have I taken the test of that second break!

The second warning sign is that feelings of going on tilt are rising inside me. Need to fight them! Read my Post 1 for all those self discipline motivators! Reminder to myself!

Also:

1: would have been a good place to nimbly place a technical stop below pinbar

2. would have been a good place to move the stop i.e. breakout test of the pinbar low

In both cases I would still have banked a winner.

So WHY was I thinking about statistics?

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 iqgod 
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Much of the journey in the trading arena is NOT getting trapped.

Trading is about the big and astute players laying elaborate traps, exploiting the small ones optimally (!!).

For example I kept gaping as I realized I had been a fool to take the previous trade and allow the market to eat my 10-tick stop and event I could see with a > 50% probability happening.

So this is how I would have let a loser affect me - had happened in the previous two combines.

Instead of having these feelings of entrapment, feeling like the court jester and any number of demeanign things all I can do is stay alert for the next trade to unfold itself.

Probably it will be on the long side but I am not biased.

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 iqgod 
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I need to be very clear about who I am when I'm in this arena.

I am a trader.

I am NOT a chartist.

I am NOT an advisor who will be predicting the next turn of the market.

I AM A TRADER.

So I should behave like one.

I should take risk when the situation demands it. I need to be prepared for taking that risk well in advance.

Reminder to myself: I AM A TRADER.

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 iqgod 
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Conclusion: Leave your crocodile tears outside and enter your trading room.

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 iqgod 
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I will try to refrain from hindsight ponderings but thought I would post this to later improve upon how I keep 'reflecting looking back'.

I did not capitalize on last two opportunities, mainly for a valid reason that the setup wasn't there.




Note: ALL of the very first spiky upmove (at the beginning of the chart) has now been retraced by this downmove... I believe this is a tiny trend reversal on the cards.

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 iqgod 
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So I waited for the setup (block break) and am short now in real time:



Need to wait for it to reach 10 ticks downwards

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 iqgod 
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Not moving my target (discipline) - this is PAINFUL.. ouch!

It had almost hit it before forming that double bottom!



Waiting because there may be more pain for the longs still....

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 iqgod 
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I am always tormented when price reaches 9 ticks and I AM NOT ALLOWED to close the trade out for the sake of dscipline.



Isn't that a skewed R:R? Giving up 9 ticks to make 1?

Vance @VinceVirgil I see you are reading this, can you give some insights?

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 iqgod 
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This again lends validity to the idea of implementing a pinbar stop (the premise is that pinbars are fakeouts and in this case at the bottom of the range are also false breaks and hence need to be given full respect):





This trade is going to take out my stop AND THEN reach my target... gnash!!

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 iqgod 
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As I said the trade has a high probability of taking out the stop and THEN reaching target....


Almost Happened!

Stopped out twice today! (after taking out those stops the market reversed exactly each time indicating that I was impulsive in entering) ....And each time a pinbar stop would have saved me. :-)

From the king of the court to court jester the in a blink of an eye! See chart:







A question to myself: If I see these opportunities semi-consciously why don;t I capitalize on them? I am a trader not a pattern file clerk!

I have to test out that "pinbar stop" idea now...... it will be a technically valid tipping point and that would still mean a good trade because at all times our decisions must be guided by technical reasons and not impulses.


Note: @kevinkdog is an example of how a good trader follows STRICT discipline... he does not wilt in the face of adversity but stays on course!


Second note: I finally did take the next trade which was a double doji break and that reached the same target that I had been waiting for earlier! So it is important to RESET yourself before each trade!

The trend went downwards to test the pinbar. It reversed quick and high after the test giving making this three losers in a row!





Stopping for the day!

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 iqgod 
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As I closed shop for the day the 'expected' happened and I was amused at the extent of the downmove (50 pips!) I had been trying to catch and failed:


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 xelaar 
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This is pretty much is a fate of the scalper. Full of emotions and often angst.

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 iqgod 
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Hot off the press...

Combine 4 Day 1 Trade 1

Positives:

Focused on the process, not on the goals (passing/money/profits etc).




Will add more to this EOD in another post.

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 iqgod 
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The title of this journal and my earlier statements imply that I have taken the exact same in my real money account. That did not happen for this trade; I think going forward I will have that setup but am starting to find it distracting.

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 iqgod 
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Multiple price action reasons (confluence):

- The signal bars (two candles before the blue cross which is the entry bar) were Double Dojis - a double doji break in a bull trend.

- There was a breakout from the bull flag (130.43).

- There had been an earlier bullish momentum move which broke the major bear trendline.

- The second swing high forming the double top (130.52) was one tick lower than the first swing high. The market usually breaks such formations as it knows there are lot of stops above the perceived double top.

- A three push pattern had been completed and a second bull leg was anticipated.

- There was no bull trendline break.


All these reasons gave me confidence that this was an A+ setup - so I entered long at 130.44 with Auto-OCO +10/-10 ticks.

Risk / Stop loss:

Entry is always with a 10-tick stop loss. But that is the worst case scenario and actual stop is at tipping point defined below. (Thanks to @tigertrader - Risking 10 to make 10 is not a good trading strategy! Thanks!)

The tipping point was 130.37 below which the trade premise would have been invalidated.

Stop cannot be moved to breakeven (losing proposition, driven home by @PandaWarrior who whacked my behind for this breakeven stop idea in a earlier combine! Thanks, Brian!)

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 iqgod 
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The exit is always 10-ticks.

This is the rule that tests whether my discipline is in place.

I sat on my hands (ouch) till the 10-tick target was reached.

Okay, I did move the stop down to 9-ticks to account for the horrible algorithm used by T4 simulator to trigger the exit - if there are 9 orders before me and then I am filled my target is the 10th order.

But I see T4 not filling it sometimes when the number of orders increases to say a higher number (say 24 randomly chosen) and then I see the ask contracts decreasing from 24..23...22...21.... ..... ..... 8,7,6,5,4,3,2, and I am still NOT filled.

And voila it fills me at last when I should have been filled when the number was 14 (I was 10th in line).

However next time I will take all 10 ticks with patience.

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 iqgod 
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To myself:

This has simply been one winning trade in a series of trades I will be taking one by one.

The next trade may be a winner or a loser.

It does not matter.

Because I believe in the positive expectancy of my system I will continue to patiently wait for the next valid setup to present itself and take the trade confidently.

The outcome of any one single trade does not matter to me.

What matters is that I take all the valid trades that are presented to me to allow the positive expectancy to play itself out. (not skipping trades because I am already in the green etc...)

What matters is that I keep my losers smaller than winners.

What matters to me is that I exit when it is technically unfeasible to continue having a positive expectancy and when the trade has degenerated into a coin toss (never because the loss is unbearable or because I was to keep it a winning day).

Here I am reseting myself, mindful and free.

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 xelaar 
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Good stuff here. I think you are going certainly in a right direction. If you are trading Bob Volman's method (I read his book too and tested out his approach), maybe focus on trying to minimize a number of setups taking. He offers too much setup types and it generates a lot of trades. Same issue as with YTC Scalper, it's a madness, HFT can trade like that constantly, human will be drained fast. So look to figure out only the very best types (I find all range break out unreliable, stick with the trend/momentum), and introduce a good filter that will stop you from overtrading and taking too much trades, like trading only key few hours, taking trades right after the hour/15m period end when longer-term trades enter/exit positions, volume or volatility-related, etc. Good luck!

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 iqgod 
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Here is a trade I missed (apart from another trade early during the session):



I am recording this observation in my journal because:

- Both trades were missed because I had just logged in to the platform after demands of life forced me to take a break of a few hours.

- Both instances I did not take the trades though they were valid setups (I hesitated).

- This last trade I hesitated because I had already mademy mind 'opaque' - I had decided to start the first day of the combine on a green foot and hence decided that I will stop takng trades. This was against good habits and this entry is to serve myself a memo.

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 iqgod 
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 iqgod 
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 iqgod 
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 Ddawg 
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I am looking for a way on CTS T4 platform to hide the profit and loss number on the contract window (DOM).

It is a distraction and trading well requires minimizing distractions.

Currently I don't think its possible - will ask Brian in the T4 AMA thread.

Iqgod, I think you can go into contract properties in the DOM, and under the accounts tab make everything hidden.

Ddawg

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 iqgod 
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Iqgod, I think you can go into contract properties in the DOM, and under the accounts tab make everything hidden.

Ddawg

Thanks, I will check this out later in the day.

Earlier I had checked the Properties but I did not see P&L as an entry there - will look hard again.

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 iqgod 
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 iqgod 
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No regrets at not having taken the first block break short trade.

Another opportunity came along in the form of a modified double doji break + first break. Entered at 1.3064



Reasons for entry can be summarized in a few words: downtrend supporting with-trend trade (downtrend part of a larger trading range which is the big up big down move), no break of bear trendlines, momentum supportive, bars below 20EMA.

It took some initial heat after which the trade seemed on its way to reach target of 10-ticks.

After the formation of the second doji block the tipping point could now be moved to 1.3160.

I was tempted to cover at 1.36058 because it became evident that a breakout test of the earlier pinbar was complete and the trade odds had dwindled to a coin-flip (50-50). (see 5-min chart for details)

However before I could react the trade took out the tipping-point and became a 3-tick winner. Note that the stop was not moved to breakeven just to lock in profits - the stop was moved to a technical level which if hot would have rendered the initial trade premise untenable.

That the stop was taken out does causes no worries, because I followed all my rules.

5-min and hourly:


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 iqgod 
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A short entry was justified based on the following:

- Range Break - the jittery execution was due to price reentering the pattern boundary (I was jittery because I had got a one-tick better fill than normal!)

- The round number magnet of 1.30 - it was 60% probable that the round number would suck prices towards it.

- The trade gave miniscule heat however I did not follow the rule - "Price has a tendency to deceive, fight that deception and trade!"

Closed trade quickly!

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 iqgod 
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As I said in a brief note a few hours ago, I let a valid range break trade pass by - or rather slacked up enough to allow it to scare me into closing it for a 3-tick profit (MEMO: relapse into old habit).

Here is the trade highlighted first on 5-min timeframe where the range is very clear (but the short suddenly became scary when in the trade) and on the one-minute chart where it was not clear but it was not scary either.





The problem is I slipped up in the discipline part on Trade 2 - not so on trade 1, which in hindsight would have given em a heat of -7 ticks and then would have gone to hit its 10-tick target and then 10 more but that is irrelevant - trading is about probabilities not about outcomes.

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 iqgod 
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Now that I look at the 1-min chart in hindsight it is very clear that this was NOT a range break trade as there was no buildup as price exited the range. This was an Advanced Range Break (ARB) trade which should have been traded only when price moved to test the range barrier and then tumbled southwards.

This tells me I was on a 5-min higher timeframe chart because it showed me some things 'better'. Adam Grimes (star trader, SMB Capital) reminds us that moving to a higher timeframe to seek confirmation is warning bell that would probably result in an impending loss of discipline soon.

True!

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 iqgod 
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 iqgod 
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 iqgod 
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 iqgod 
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This picture speaks a thousand words:



Need to be careful moving on.

I am stopping for today.

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 iqgod 
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Trade 0 (which didn't happen) was an Inside Range Break at the top of the huge range. Missed it solely due to internet connection AND backup internet both going down! Positives: Resisted urge to enter short - proud that I did not chase the market.

Trade 1 was a first break short. Entry Reasoning: Downtrend, absolutely diagonal pullback to 20EMA, signal bar was also a first break as well as signaled an Advanced Range Break (test of range barrier).
Learning: Hesitation during entry affected exit psychology where I covered for a 6-tick profit on basis that it would have been target if had entered correctly (REMINDER: not the correct thing - loss of discipline).

Trade 2 is a Learning Opportunity! It was a 10-tick loser - the worst outcome!
Entry Reasoning: Was thinking "Block Break" but this was fascinated gambling. Saw price hesitating and almost covered at absolute break-even once I reasoned that this was not trading but betting. However was a 'dick for a tick' and did not cover and took full 10-tick loss instead of 1-tick. Reminder to not let this happen again.

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 xelaar 
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You took your 3rd trade against prevailing trend. Is it part of your strategy?

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 iqgod 
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You took your 3rd trade against prevailing trend. Is it part of your strategy?

No, that definitely was NOT a part of my strategy.

Hence I have marked it as a GAMBLE.

It was the absolute worst thing I did and I am diligently going to watch out mindfully from repeating this behavior.

Solemn promise.


Also, I saw it coming and could have taken a 1-tick loser but the cocktail of overconfidence, freezing and self delusion did me in - I am going to fight all three rather simply - by not fighting the trend anymore!

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 iqgod 
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I wanted to put this on record that this combine is different from all the previous three combines as to the stress factor.

The first three were roller coasters - this is like a calm walk in the park with lots of opportunities for sight-seeing called trades.

I have evolved. I myself am surprised at how calmly I handle the market, the losses and do not let frustration get better of me! Cheerios!


<MILESTONE>

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 iqgod 
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You took your 3rd trade against prevailing trend. Is it part of your strategy?

And thanks for the timely reminder!

To myself: Reversal trading is generally a losing proposition! Follow the plan you have so carefully crafted and tested! Please!

P.S.:" @xelaar - Saw your trader interview on youtube. Had logged into squawk radio yesterday , but was late (as wifey needed my PC to skype with friends!) but could catch only your "Thank you to Big Mike Trading!" That itself was worth it, IMHO, though rest of interview was fantastic too as I saw today - John was impressed! Keep it up!

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 MarketPilot 
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I wanted to put this on record that this combine is different from all the previous three combines as to the stress factor.

The first three were roller coasters - this is like a calm walk in the park with lots of opportunities for sight-seeing called trades.

I have evolved. I myself am surprised at how calmly I handle the market, the losses and do not let frustration get better of me! Cheerios!


<MILESTONE>

This is indeed a great Milestone. I'm waiting for Ninja to start my free trial and Combine. I have been able to feel a similar "turn" in my trading emotions. I really want to Keep emotions out of my trading. Decisively evaluate and take entries, follow all rules, and let the outcomes work out for themselves.

Wishing you continued good trading.

Trade Wise, Trade Well

John
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 iqgod 
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Considering my one-trade (10-tick loser) foray into negative territory I thought I would share something.

Apart from marking up my charts and journaling the technical aspects of trading I am keeping a parallel psychological journal some of which is too deep to share here, but I will touch upon some points briefly.

This combination of two journals has helped me as follows:

- noting down one-liners helping me in recognizing my patterns as a trader i.e. how I behave and the specific ways I act in certain specific situations (this was remarkable - when a situation repeats the pattern repeats)

- recording my emotions, state of mind and my mood swings as specific events unfold

- checkpoints where I am slipping automatically into semi-conscious patterns when face up against some trading related event or general life event.

I end this entry with a note that had I not developed the habit of journaling here on Big Mike Trading I would never have bottled my demons so adeptly or even ever at all.

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Last Updated on February 26, 2017


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